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Summary: Message 23 from Philippians. This message covers Paul's admonition to live in harmony.

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“Harmonize in the Lord”

We in the section of Paul’s letter to the Philippians where he instructs them in some specific actions or behaviors that facilitate joy no matter what.

1. ADOPT THE RIGHT AXIS – A Passion to praise Christ 1

Exalting Christ in everything is a foundation for joy.

2. MAINTAIN THE RIGHT ATTITUDE – A Passion to please Christ 2

Pleasing Christ through sacrificial service to others is a foundation for joy.

3. PURSUE THE RIGHT AIM – A Passion to pursue Christ 3

Pursuing deeper relationship with Christ above all other things brings joy.

4. PRACTICE THE RIGHT ACTIONS – A Passion to practice Christ 4

Practicing Christ-like living results in joy.

He specified several actions throughout chapter four. The first admonition was to “stand firm in the Lord.”

• Stand firm in the Lord 4:1

The second admonition is to unity in the body.

• Harmonize in the Lord 4:2-3

I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Philippians 4:2-3

THOUGHTS FROM THIS PASSAGE

Paul specifically addressed two women in the Philippian assembly. He appealed to each one individually by repeating the main verb twice. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to get on the same page. (Think the same) It is warm but clear. The verb translated “entreat” comes from the Greek word “parakaleo” which comes from the word “to call” and the preposition “beside”. The resulting word means to call alongside or to encourage, urge, beseech, comfort. Jesus used this term to refer to the anticipated encouraging ministry of Holy Spirit. It communicates the idea of “urging someone from a near proximity”. The New Testament writers use the term extensively in relation to God and one another. Paul issued a strong challenge to these two valuable women. Not much is known about them apart from this letter.

It appears they had been part Paul’s ministry team and worked together with Paul. Paul used a warfare term to describe their participation on the team. They “fought hard” for the sake of the gospel. They helped establish this fledgling church and its incursion into the pagan world around them. It is difficult to tell whether he indicated they each labored alongside Paul or labored side by side with each other as members of Paul’s team.

At the time of the letter, it appears some sort of rift developed between them. We don’t know what it was, but appears significant enough to have come to Paul’s attention in prison. He strongly encouraged them to “agree in the Lord”; get on the same page regarding the cause of the gospel. He singled them out because he had established a close relationship with both of them through mutual ministry.

Paul used the same exhortation in a generic way in chapter 2.

complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 2:2-3

Perhaps he had these two ladies in mind. When a conflict arises between two people in the assembly, it generally spreads to others as people tend to take sides. The church faces threats from external diversion and internal dissension. Paul called them to adopt a proper personal mind-set that regulates outward action. Paul called for a unified thought process regarding the essentials. “Think the same thing in the Lord”. If exalting Christ is our highest value, along with serving Christ and pursuing Christ, then that “thinking” enables us to deal with numerous non-essential differences. Paul dealt with those preaching out of envy by a focus on exalting Jesus.

Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel, not being frightened in any way by your opponents…Philip 1:27-28

He wasn’t asking these dear ladies to be carbon copies of each other but to focus on the cause of Christ. Jesus designed the church with differences. Without such diversity, there is no need for unity. Internal squabbles always distract from the main thing. Those in the heat of life threatening-battle don’t have time for petty squabbles. Attempting to tune every instrument in an orchestra to each other would be a tedious and time consuming task.

It is only be necessary for each instrument to tune to a common source. A choir all singing unison sounds wonderful but when the choir breaks into various parts a new dimension and depth comes to the song.

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